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May 10 2013

Why Are Hybrid Cars Expensive in India?

These days the hybrid trend is on the rise, more in the western countries, if you’re seen driving around in a gas-guzzling Chevrolet Camaro then you’re considered an anti-earth! Whereas if you’re in Toyota Prius Hybrid or a Honda Civic Hybrid then you’re one of those green-peacekeeper folks and are actually trying hard to go green. But at a cost, read on for more on that. The hybrid babies are being sold in India as well and the trend is far from growing.


Every year you might have noticed a ranking of some sort or the other used in either advertisements of car companies or some articles on one of the hundred auto-blogs, marking the most popular car of the year, highest selling car of the car, least selling car of the year, most expensive car of the year and so on. Well, we can tell you that the highest selling car for the year 2012 in India was the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800! Yeah, it’s for real.


Chances are you may already be aware of the fact. But what you might not know or didn’t even bother to know is what happens on the other side of the scale. Toyota Prius was the least selling car over all the categories. So, yeah, if you’re a Honda Civic Hybrid owner reading this article, don’t feel too proud, your car might have been a close second to the Toyota Prius, just because the Civic probably is a very good looking car and the petrol version is quite a success even today.


One primary reason for the Hybrids being not so hot selling is the fat price tag on them, for example, a Toyota Prius costs around Rs. 33 Lakhs on-road in New Delhi, now, if I was a car buyer with this budget, I would simply walk into an Audi, BMW or a Mercedes Benz dealership with eyes closed and simply buy an A4, a 3-Series or a C-Class but not a humble Toyota Prius. But that’s just my opinion. Also the high excise duties force the price to go so high. Countries like United Kingdom give a special tax incentive if you buy an hybrid car there. Such things improve the chances of getting a hybrid for folks like me. Road tax for a hybrid car is also lower since they have lower CO2 emissions

The Indian Government has a Rs.4 Billion plan to boost the electric and hybrid vehicle production and bring 5-6 Million hybrid vehicles on road by the year 2020. Now hybrids are alright, but if all these electric cars and motorcycles start plugging in and sucking all the electricity then I have no idea how or when will our current electricity demands be met, as it is India faces a severe electricity crisis during peak summer months of the year. Maybe the government has a “plan” for that as well. Car manufacturers say that high prices of hybrid vehicles will immediately come down once hybrids start making big enough volume sale figures. Till then keep thinking whether you want a BMW or you want to save the planet.


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